Review: Flowers While We’re Living (Buddies in Bad Times)

Enthusiastic audiences greet Flowers While We’re Living on the Toronto stage

Flowers While We’re Living , presented by Unit 2 and Ninkuru Zinduru as a part of the 2017 Queer Pride Festival, had a glorious one night showing at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. It was a beautiful, vulnerable performance by incredibly talented trans people of colour. I was very grateful to have been given the chance to attend such a moving piece of work, especially as a part of a sold out house!

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Review: Bearing (Luminato)

The hero quote on the Luminato page for Michael Greyeyes and Yvette Nolan’s Bearing is Michael Greyeyes searing comment: “Every person in Canada is surviving residential schools, because if you’re Canadian you’re part of it.” My relation to residential schools is not personal – there are no residential school survivors in my family – but the need to learn about them, and to engage in reconciliation comes through ethical and treaty obligations. I am a treaty person, because I live on land that was part of the Toronto Purchase.* With this in mind, I went to see Bearing expecting to be implicated, to learn, and be moved. I did not have the experience I expected.

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Review: Talking Treaties (Jumblies Theatre)

Talking Treaties is active and immersive theatre performed at the historical Fort York in Toronto

Image from Jumblies Theatre's Talking Treaties showTalking Treaties calls itself a spectacle and really, it is. Jumblies Theatre is performing the show at Fort York National Historic Site as part of Toronto’s 2017 Indigenous Arts Festival. The show explores Toronto’s Indigenous history and unfolds the origin stories and after effects of three significant treaties.

To endeavour to tell such a vast history onstage could have been overly ambitious, but Talking Treaties delivers. With spirited ensemble performances, the show gives an illuminating presence and voice to the Indigenous peoples that came before us. They drum, they dance, they shout, they sing. And as my fellow show-goer reflected, they inspire.

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Review: Morro and Jasp in Stupefaction (Kabin and U.N.I.T. Productions)

Morro and Jasp failed to connect with our writer in Stupefaction, on stage in Toronto

Off the bat I should tell you: I am a tremendous Morro and Jasp fan, and I looked forward to Morro and Jasp in Stupefaction like any kid counts down to an especially desirable event. I prattled on with glee the whole way to the new Streetcar Crowsnest theatre to my two companions about how much I have loved every single Morro and Jasp show I have ever seen.

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Review: Vertical Influences (Le Patin Libre and Luminato)

Unique, exciting ice skating show takes to the Toronto ‘stage’

I know summer in Toronto is short, and we want to take advantage of the limited warmth and sunshine. But I can’t think of a better way to spend a couple hours this June weekend than inside an ice rink watching Vertical Influences, a contemporary dance performance on ice being presented as part of Luminato.

Vertical Influences is performed by Le Patin Libre, a collective of mostly former high-level figure skaters based in Montreal. But this is no Ice Capades full of sequins and sparkle. These dancers wear baggy jeans and street clothes and sport beards, ponytails and dreadlocks. Continue reading Review: Vertical Influences (Le Patin Libre and Luminato)

Review: Suffragette (Opera 5)

SuffragetteOpera 5 brings the Suffragette to the present on the Toronto stage

It seems almost impertinent that an opera written just over a century ago would resonate so much to the present moment. This double-bill production — Opera 5’s Suffragette, now showing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace — presents two works written by British composer and suffrage movement member Dame Ethel Smyth, to celebrate one of the (nasty) women who paved the way for a more equal and just society today.

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Review: En avant, marche! (NTGent & les ballets C de la B)

Photo from "En avant, marche!"“Fearless” Luminato show takes to the Toronto stage

It was a huge pleasure to attend En avant, marche!, co-produced by NTGent & les ballets C de la B and presented by Luminato. This wonderfully entertaining multidisciplinary show filled the stage at the St Lawrence Centre for the Arts with music, dance, and heart. With four actor-performers, seven Belgian musicians, and a brass band, there was never a dull moment.

The show centers around a musician (Wim Opbrouck) whose cancer diagnosis has forced him to trade his beloved trombone for a pair of cymbals. Far from being melancholy, however, En avant, marche! ricochets joyously from one feeling to another: it is at times funny, bizarre, profound, raunchy, and filled with visual and musical delights.

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Review: Shove It Down My Throat (Buddies In Bad Times)

Photo of Johnny WalkerShove It Down My Throat brought raw, living theatre to the Toronto stage

Judging by the title alone, I knew I was in for an edgy night of theatre and I definitely got it.

Pandemic Theatre Company‘s Shove It Down My Throat, which played for one night only as part of the Buddies In Bad Times Residency Program, is a docu-play investigating a series of stabbings at a LGBTQ New Year’s Eve Party back in 2013. Johnny Walker has written emails to Luke O’Donovan, the gay teen who was thrown in jail for committing the act. Johnny enlists his friends to help him find the truth of what really happened that night, and finds out once and for all whether or not Luke is the gay rights poster boy he thought he was.

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Review: Ghost Rings (Luminato)

Ghost Rings, part of the Luminato Festival in Toronto, is “whimsical” and “wonderfully wild”

David Pecault Square is home to the Famous Spiegeltent for Luminato, serving as the venue for performances including Ghost Rings, from NYC company Half Straddle. Ghost Rings is a pop-punk experimental musical about girls who are close when they are young, but grow estranged as they become adults. Continue reading Review: Ghost Rings (Luminato)